Speaking at today’s BSP Congress, Sergei Stanishev stated that there has been a wrongful feeling in society lately that Bulgaria is faced with choosing between Europe and Russia, but this is a false alternative. The future of Bulgaria undoubtedly lies in the European Union as a full-fledged and effective member but this in no way means that we should not actively uphold and promote our own interests and views, PES President said.

In his view the Ukraine crisis heavily damaged the relations and trust between Europe and Russia. ‘Tens of thousands of people became victims of the conflict, refugees are close to a million. Saber rattling, sanctions and counter-sanctions being applied, political and media rhetoric reminds more and more of the years of the Cold war. I myself, as well as most people in this room, remember the times of the Cold war, Stanishev said.

I do not wish to see Europe divided again. I do not wish to see my children grow in fear, distrust and fierce, to grow in a ‘front-line’ state.

Peace is key historical value of social democracy and of the European project. This is why the socialist family both in Bulgaria and in Europe have worked for the de-escalation, political dialogue and political solution to the conflict ever since its beginning. I would like us all to remember that it was in the darkest times of the Cold war, just a year after the occupation of Czechoslovakia, Willy Brandt initiated his Eastern policy which gave an impetus to the Détente.

It is not by chance that we are preparing a big international conference dedicated to the new Eastern policy precisely with SPD-Germany. I am confident that the Bulgarian Socialist Party can contribute to finding a peaceful and sustainable solution to this crisis, PES President Stanishev added.